Despite the Super Bowl being the last game of the NFL year, the 2017 season isn’t officially over with mid-March. The New Orleans Saints, like the other clubs, will have their hands full with a lot of behind the scenes work. Here’s an NFL calendar of events that will take us through the beginning of September.
- February 5: Waiver system begins for 2018.
- February 13: Beginning at 12 p.m. ET, NFL clubs may begin to sign players whose 2017 CFL contracts have expired. Players under contract to a CFL club for the 2018 season or who have an option for the 2018 season are not eligible to be signed.
- February 20: - First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
- February 27-March 5: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
- March 6: Prior to 4:00 p.m. ET, deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
- March 12-14: Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2017 player contracts at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 14. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m. ET on March 14.
- March 14: Prior to 4:00 p.m. ET, clubs must exercise options for 2018 on all players who have option clauses in their 2017 contracts.
- March 14: Prior to 4:00 p.m. ET, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.
- March 14: Prior to 4:00 p.m. ET, clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2017 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.
- March 14: Top 51 begins. All clubs must be under the 2018 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m. ET. All 2017 player contracts will expire at that time. Trading period for 2018 begins at 4:00 p.m. ET after expiration of all 2017 contracts.
- March 14: The 2018 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m. ET. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m. and 11:59:59 p.m. ET on March 14.
- March 25-28: Annual League Meeting, Orlando, Florida.
- April 2: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2017 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
- April 16: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
- April 20: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.
- April 26-28: 2018 NFL Draft, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX.
- May 4-7: Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
- May 8: Deadline for prior club to send “May 8 Tender” to its unsigned Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a player contract with a club by July 23 or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later, he may negotiate or sign a player contract from that date until the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, at 4:00 p.m. ET only with his prior club.
- May 11-14: Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-Draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
- May 14: Rookie Football Development Programs begin.
- May 17-20: NFLPA Rookie Premiere. Invited Rookies (typically, first and/or second-round selections) must be permitted by their respective clubs to attend. Such players are unavailable for offseason workouts, OTA days, and minicamps during this period.
- May 21-23: Spring League Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia.
- June 1: Deadline for prior club to send “June 1 Tender” to its unsigned Restricted Free Agents who received a qualifying offer for a right of first refusal only in order for such player to be subject to the CBA’s “June 15 Tender” provision.
- June 2: For any player removed from the club’s roster or whose contract is assigned via waivers or trade on or after June 2, any unamortized signing bonus amounts for future years will be included fully in team salary at the start of the 2019 League Year.
- June 15: Deadline for club to withdraw qualifying offer to Restricted Free Agents and still retain exclusive negotiating rights by substituting “June 15 Tender” of one-year contract at 110 percent of the player’s prior-year Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior-year contract carried forward unchanged).
- Late June: Rookie Transition Program to be held at individual clubs. Attendance is mandatory for all rookies.
- July 16: At 4:00 p.m. ET, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one- year contract with his prior club for the 2018 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.
- Mid-July: Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for Veteran players.
Veteran players (defined as a player with at least one pension-credited season) other than quarterbacks or “injured players” (as defined in CBA Article 21, Section 6) may report to a club’s preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the club’s first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later.
Veteran quarterbacks and injured players may be required to report to the club’s preseason training camp no earlier than five days immediately prior to the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players, provided the club has already opened (or simultaneously opens) its official preseason training camp for all rookies and first-year players.
A three-day acclimation period will apply to players who are on a club’s roster up to and including the mandatory veteran reporting date. Players who rejoin the roster after that date may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical.
- July 23: Signing period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “May 8 Tender” was made by prior club. After this date and until 4:00 p.m. ET on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
- July 23: Signing period ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders. After this date and until 4:00 p.m. ET on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, Prior Club has exclusive negotiating rights.
- August 2: Hall of Fame Game, Canton, Ohio.
- August 2-5: Hall of Fame Weekend, Canton, Ohio.
- August 7: Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an accrued season for free agency.
- August 7: If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2018, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the Draft in the 2019 League Year.
- September 1: Prior to 4:00 p.m. ET, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List.
- September 1: Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non- Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List.
- September 2: Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12 p.m. ET.
- September 2: Upon receipt of the Personnel Notice at approximately 1:00 p.m. ET, clubs may establish a practice squad of 10 players. No club, including the player’s prior club, will be permitted to sign a player to a practice player contract until all clubs have received simultaneous notification via the above Personnel Notice that such player’s prior NFL player contract has been terminated via the waiver system.
- September 6: At 12:00 a.m. ET, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL clubs.
- September 6, 9-10: Regular Season opens.